About

Columbia College Chicago, a beautiful art school located in the South Loop, houses a unique, powerful team of creatives. The Illustration Student Group is the student-run portion of Columbia's illustration program, a community that combines weekly meetings with fun events, activities, and unreserved creative strength. ISG welcomes and invites everyone to join in our wide-spread circle as we continue to grow with and inspire one another! 

mel.jpg

Mel V. Vargas

President

Senior

Illustration BA

Animation Stop-Motion Minor

Mel is a latinx Florida born illustrator and comic artist. They transferred from Tampa to CCC in their sophomore year to become a part of a larger comic community. Mel first joined ISG to meet others who like to make art and be surrounded by other artists as much as they do. As president of ISG they are in charge of leading meetings, as well as helping other E-board members plan events, and ensuring that ISG is keeping true to its goal of making sure everyone is included and welcome. After they graduate, Mel hopes to do comics and conventions full-time.

Courtney V Cusack

Vice President

courtney.jpg

Senior

Illustration BA

Fiction Writing Minor

As vice president of ISG, Courtney V Cusack is in charge of growing ISG across social media, promoting the club online and around the city, working with Shane to get the Newsletter out, and running this website! Illustrating entirely digitally, Courtney creates products (stickers, charms, prints, etc.) that she sells on her Etsy and in Artist Alley at a variety of comic, art, and anime conventions. When she's not drawing, Courtney can often be found exploring the city, petting a cat, or playing one of her many Pokemon games!

Caleb Joaquin

Chief Financial

Officer

caleb.jpg

Senior

Illustration BA

Fiction Writing Minor

Caleb Joaquin is the Chief Financial Officer for the Illustration Student Group. He’s from south west Michigan and always has a deck of cards. When he first started at Columbia he was declared as “exploratory,” as he was equally interested in writing and animation, but eventually found a home in Illustration and in ISG. Much of his work is done with water colors and has a focus on narrative fields such as comics and character design. Caleb’s been a part of ISG since he transferred in his sophomore year and enjoys sketching and talking with everyone.

Shane Tolentino

Social Media Manager

shane.png

Junior

Illustration BFA

Environmental Studies Minor

Shane Tolentino is ISG’s Social Media Manager and is in charge of regularly updating different social channels and engaging with the ISG community online. She also works on the bi-weekly newsletters with Courtney and is the Creative Lead for INK Fest Chicago. Outside of ISG, Shane is an illustrator and designer inspired by Midwestern forest preserves, environmental issues, and medical diagrams of the human body. Along with being a designer, Shane is an activist, plant-enthusiast, and blue-tongued skink mom to Colby.

mary freelove 2.png

Mary Freelove

Director of Events

Ollie Joukowsky

Treasurer

ollie.png

Senior

Illustration BFA

 

Mary Freelove is the director of events, and in charge of planning and ensuring all of ISG's awesome events run smoothly! She grew up in Kansas, and came to Chicago three years ago to study illustration at Columbia, with a focus on children's book illustration. Now beginning her senior year, she has also been interning at Albert Whitman & Company, a children's book publisher here in Chicago, since January of 2019. Mary's ultimate goal is to make the world a happier place with her art. She joined ISG her freshman year and joined the E-board the following year, because she wanted to help plan the fantastic events that introduced her to the rest of the illustration department and the best friends anyone could hope for.

Junior

Illustration BA

Creative Writing Minor

Oliver Joukowsky is a nonbinary queer artist originally from the very small state of Rhode Island. They moved out to Chicago to attend Columbia in order to gain new skills. Oliver is newly in charge of the financial happenings of ISG, acting as a treasurer. Using both traditional and digital media, he uses multiple mediums to illustrate a variety of subjects, revolving primarily around trans bodies and queer themes. Oliver joined ISG as a sophomore and feels incredibly lucky to get to be a part of such a fantastic organization.

mary lee.png

Mary Lee Fenner

Outreach Coordinator

Campbell Royales

Student Outreach

campbell 2.png

Junior

Illustration BFA

Mary Lee Fenner is a junior illustration BFA major from Columbus, Ohio. Mary became a ISG member her freshman year and has been an e-board member ever sense. As a student outreach coordinator, Mary is very open and always excited to see new faces at ISG. Always bubbly, and always willing to chat, Mary is full of information about the club and the happenings around Columbia. When not in classes, Mary can be found on the 7th floor of the 623 building working as the design department assistant - another good source for information. Over her time here at Columbia, Mary works mostly as a digital artist but still has a love for traditional mediums such as pens and markers.

Junior

Illustration BA

Campbell, originally from the far northwest suburbs of Chicago, is part of the Student Outreach team, engaging students in the incredible programming that ISG hosts! When not with ISG, Campbell can be found drawing comics about the intersectionality of their identities using both traditional means like ink, as well as digital practices. Campbell makes comics both for themself as a means of journaling, but also for other people who may not see experiences they relate to in other mainstream media.

sol.png

Sol Salinas

Student Outreach/

SOC Rep

Junior

Illustration BA

Sol Salinas is a Latinx artist from San Antonio, TX who focuses on Character Design and Storybook illustration. Their dream is to be a children’s illustrator or a graphic novelist. They joined ISG to meet like minded artists and found a family in the group. They are extremely grateful and honored to be representing ISG at SOC meetings, and hopes to make you proud!

Jen Chavez

Student Outreach

jen.png

Junior

Illustration BA

Animation Minor

Jennifer is a born and raised Chicagoan who joined ISG freshman year in hopes of meeting creatively driven and friendly people. Jen loves to work traditionally and try out new materials in her sketchbook in addition to working on digital art. As a member of Student Outreach Jen is always willing to talk and listen to anyone who wants to share. Jen has recently taken to comics and storytelling as well as character and concept design--when she isn't drawing she is crafting, hanging out with friends, or re watching a movie for the 10th time.

  • Instagram - Black Circle
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Twitter - Black Circle